EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Though there are already a few Passive Houses in Oregon, the one currently being built in Eugene is the first multi-family Passive House in the state.
The building is a part of the Stellar Apartment complex, which is under construction right now on 17th and City View in West Eugene. The complex is being built by St. Vincent de Paul, with some help from the city and EWEB.
Stellar Apartments will provide 54 units of affordable housing, and all are being built to achieve Earth Advantage certification. One, 6-unit building however, is taking the sustainability a step even farther.
“For [a] Passive House, it's built to a very extremely tight building envelop, and there's extreme insulation,” says Nora Cronin, the Project Manager. “The thing that we're testing here today is the really tight building envelop.”
To test that tight seal, they used a high-power blower to stimulate wind, and measured the building's air transfer rate. Air transfer rates measure the amount of air exchanges between a house and the outside over a certain amount of time. The building passed today’s test, with an air transfer rate of 0.6 air changes per hour. That means it is on its way gaining Passive House certification.
To meet Earth Advantage standards, a building must have an air transfer rate of 4 exchanges per hour. Earth Advantage homes are already a high standard in the green building industry, but Passive Homes are still more insulated.
That extreme insulation means tenants will need far less power to heat or cool their units. With rising energy costs, St. Vincent de Paul says these green standards not only help the environment, they'll also make the unit very affordable for low-income members of the community.